James Paget has one of highest death rates in country for breast cancer patients

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk.

James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, Norfolk. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A hospital trust has reviewed deaths of women from breast cancer after being slammed in a report.

The James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, was placed among the 10 hospital trusts that had the highest death rates for breast cancer patients.

Sue Watkinson, the trust's chief operating officer, said all the cases highlighted in the report have been the subject of a full review by senior clinicians.

The hospital's cancer mortality rates were scrutinised as part of a study of more than 30,000 patients with breast or lung cancer, which was published in the Lancet Oncology yesterday.

Its rates for patients treated with palliative intent were found to be especially high.

As a result of the study Public Health England told 19 hospital trusts to review their cancer treatment 'as a matter of urgency' after the new data showed that too many patients died within 30 days.

Ms Watkinson said: 'All the cases highlighted in the report have been the subject of a full review by senior clinicians, who have examined them to see if there are any common factors.

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'At this time, there is no evidence of any trend but we will continue to monitor these rates in line with our procedures.

'Every case is different – and decisions concerning treatment can depend on factors including the stage of the disease, any underlying conditions, and the wishes of the patient.'

Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and Ipswich Hospital were also found to have high mortality rates for breast cancer patients along with the JPH.

The Norfolk and Norwich, Queen Elizabeth, and West Suffolk hospitals were not included in the 'worst-10 list'.

The study was the first to collect chemotherapy mortality data of this kind at a national level.

The authors, who surveyed 147 trusts, acknowledged that small patient samples and poor data management may have contributed to some results.

However the findings will raise fears of a postcode lottery in cancer care.